Gleneagles Townhouse
Meet the Expert:

Yuri Janssen

27 July 2023

Introducing Gleneagles’ outdoor expert, who shares his passion for showing guests the best of Scotland’s wilderness.

Before putting down roots in Scotland, I spent two decades in the safari industry, working as a camp manager at a small private lodge in northern South Africa before becoming a game ranger at Mala Mala in the Sabi Sands Game reserve, guiding a vast range of guests, including actors, royalty and presidents, latterly working as a freelance guide and photographer throughout some of Africa’s most beautiful and remote wilderness areas.

After living on the ‘front line’ out of a suitcase for a good part of two decades, I was introduced to someone at Gleneagles and a wonderful opportunity to join the outdoor leisure team here emerged. They quickly recognised that I was better suited to being out in the hills rather than based in an office, which is how my current position as Head of Adventure came about.

Gleneagles is a world-class hotel well- known for its fantastic food and facilities, but we also have what no one else has – this giant playground with unbridled access to Scotland’s most beautiful hills, glens and pristine wilderness. We have fantastic activities on offer – from the falconry, gun dogs and clay shooting to salmon and trout fishing – but as Head of Adventure I also create tailor-made experiences for guests who are looking for something off menu. That might be a personal guide, picnics in the wilderness, photography courses and birdwatching, or meeting local estate owners and learning how our traditional Scottish hill estates work. I prefer to ask people what they’re looking for rather than telling them what’s on offer.

Every day is different, but for me the thrill of my job is spending time with people who appreciate the great outdoors. I’m in my element alongside those who love to learn about new things and want to experience my environment – whether that’s the flora and fauna or elements of Scottish culture.

"I often tell people to stop looking at the forecast: regardless of the weather, we’ll have fun."

People tend to have a romantic notion of the Scotland Highlands: they want mountains, rivers and beautiful vistas and that’s generally what we focus on. We have a specialised team of “playground planners” and guides who can help guests engage with the outdoors and create memories of a lifetime.

In Scotland, every time you go out into the hills, it is a different experience and that’s the beauty of Scotland. When you’re in the wilderness you never know what’s going to happen. The challenge of my role sometimes lies in the logistics – everyone wants that perfectly curated picnic in the middle of nowhere but making that happen has it’s challenges. The weather in Scotland is unpredictable and the mountains mean that every glen has its own microclimate – I often tell people to stop looking at the forecast: regardless of the weather, we’ll have fun. For me, an adventure truly becomes an adventure in the retelling of the story and often, the more adverse conditions are, the more memorable that story becomes.

For bespoke wilderness experiences speak to our Playground Planners on 01764 290 014 or email

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